Thunder – Nuggets Preview

Posted on April 17, 2011 by


The Oklahoma City Thunder begin their championship quest against the streaking “Thuggets.” This series is going to produce a lot of scoring and will be one of the best first round series to watch. Adding fuel to the fire, George Karl called Thunder coach Scott Brooks and his team cocky.

“He’s confident and his team is confident,” Karl told reporters in Denver recently. “At times when you get beat by him, you think they might be too cocky.”

This is not a good move from George Karl. He cannot change the outcome of a game through the media like Phil Jackson. He thinks’ he is Phil Jackson but he is really not. I’ve never liked this guy. Kudos to him for beating cancer, but don’t be fooled by the Nuggets 18-7 record post the Carmelo Anthony trade. This is the same guy that let this happen against the Lakers. TWICE! Only his teams would do something like this.

He led the Sonics to the Western Conference finals and led the Milwaukee Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, he started bad mouthing his own players. He called Sam Cassell a ball hog, Glenn Robison lazy, and is believed to be the man who ran Ray Allen out of town in exchange for a half season of Gary Payton. While Gary Payton still hates on Milwaukee, Ray has had nothing but great things to say about the Bucks.

“That’s what I planned on; that’s what I had hoped,” Allen said of staying in Milwaukee. “I was looking at building and trying to create something great. I always modeled my career after what Brett Favre did in Green Bay; they won a Super Bowl. I didn’t feel I needed to be in a big market to achieve greatness or even to win a championship. It was all about trying to create a mentality of having a dynasty here. We started doing that. I think we were one or two players away from doing that.”

The Bucks have never recovered from the Ray Allen trade, and there is a reason why Carmelo Anthony demanded one. But enough about Karl. The Nuggets boast an intriguing team that goes 10 deep and plays great at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Wilson Chandler, Danilo Galinari, and Raymond Felton have all succeeded in George Karl’s high-octane offense. Ty Lawson has taken advantage of the opportunity to start after Billups departed, and he’s delivered.

The Nuggets feature Young Money Athlete J.R Smith and former warrior Al Harrington, two of my favorite wild cards in the NBA. Lil’ Wayne and Young Money Entertainment signed J. R Smith and Chris Johnson from the Titans to represent Young Money Athletes, hence the tattoo.

J.R Smith can be the best player on the floor at times, and we all know Al can get his. Defense is another story with these two, but the Nuggets need to get these guys in a great rhythm so they can contribute throughout the series. Arron Afflalo, the “Birdman,” and Gary Forbes round out the rest of a great bench.

Nene (and to a much lesser extent Kenyon Martin) must show up and score points in the paint to free up the rest of the Nuggets for open shots. This isn’t an easy task against the Thunder.

Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka “Flocka Flames” will be looking to wreak havoc on defense. The Thunder are 13-4 since Perkins has been in the lineup. He’s brought experience, toughness, and the ability to guard any good post player one on one. He’s also unleashed Ibaka for weak-side blocks and offensive rebounds. The Kendrick Perkins trade makes this team a championship contender.

We all know about Westbrook and Durantula. But now they are one year better and one year wiser. Look to see them play even better than last year during these playoffs. Durant might average 35 PPG during these series. No one can guard him. Maybe Wilson Chandler at best.

James Harden is and will always be their ex-factor. He can disappear at times, but sometimes he can do this.

Prediction: Thunder in 5.

The New Nuggets could have won against the Mavericks, but their athleticism that usually wins them games won’t matter against the even more talented Thunder. They will win one game at home, but Durant and Westbrook will be too much for them to handle. Experience is often overlooked, but it will matter in this series. The Nuggets have little experience, and the Thunder have been here before. Look for the some exciting close games but ultimately an easy series for the Thunder.